Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Festive Apple Coffee Cake

I made this nostalgic coffee cake last weekend and it was perfectly cozy and warm.  The cake is both thick and fluffy at the same time and the perfect date for your morning coffee (all morning coffee needs a date!).  Being smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season, I plan on making this for us again.  Yum-O!Festive Apple Coffee CakeFrom the Kitchen of Darby HawleyIngredients:
Topping:
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
5 tbs butter, room temperature

Batter:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup apple butter
powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. For the topping, mix together all of the dry ingredients and then add butter and mix together with your fingers until incorporated, and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8-inch pan with aluminum foil leaving some extra foil to hang off the edges.  Butter the foil.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar together on medium until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla. On low, add dry batter ingredients in 3 batches, alternating between the sour cream, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
4. Spread half of the batter in the pan, and top with apple butter, then add the remaining batter.  Finish by sprinkling the topping over the batter evenly. Bake until golden brown, about 55 minutes.
5. Cool on a drying rack and then use the aluminum hang-over to remove the cake.  Once cooled dust with powdered sugar.
6. Enjoy!
DSC_0330

Monday, November 24, 2014

Miracle Skin Care System *Update*

Apple Cider Vinegar- Miracle Skin Care SystemLast fall I posted my Miracle Skin Care Routine and I was recently talking about it with one of my students (hi GC!).  It occurred to me that it’s probably time to give y’all an update.  Yes, I am still using apple cider vinegar to cleanse my face.  When I wrote about it last fall I didn’t think it could get any better, but it DID! My skin is still clean and soft!  For the first time in my entire life I have clear skin! The Mr. even agrees with me, that my skin is better now than it was when we were in college.  It seems like a little thing to be thankful about, but I don’t care; I still am so thankful!

I have incorporated a few more things into my routine that I want to share with you:DSC_0335

  • First to remove my makeup, especially eye makeup, I use extra virgin olive oil on a cotton ball. Yes, this comes from the same bottle I use for the kitchen, I just put it in a little 3 oz. bottle I got from Target.
  • To moisturize my face, I no longer use moisturizer per se.  Instead I use coconut oil; a little bit goes a long way (Yes, again another kitchen product in my bathroom).
  • Of course I still will have a hormonal flare up here and there (typical regions for hormonal flare-ups are on the lower cheek/jaw line and chin). To quickly, and painlessly, clear-up a break-out, I dab a little Tea Tree Essential Oil on the area of interest 2x a day.  The Tea Tree EO will clear up a break-out within 24-48 hours.

I know you must be thinking, “She just added 3 different oils to her face!” You’re right, I do.  And get this: my skin is naturally oily!  I was skeptical at first too, but the types of oils I’m adding are good for my skin so I don’t over dry or over moisturize my skin.  The Tea Tree EO is actually more of a drying oil, and coconut oil & EVOO are too large to seep into my pores.  So all three of these oils are beneficial for my skin without clogging up my pores (non-comedogenic). 

So there ya go, my face system updates that I’ve been using for over a year now to keep my skin healthy and clear. 

What are y’all using to keep your skin clear?

Do you have kitchen products on the cosmetic shelf in your bathroom?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Our Next Covenant

cov-e-nant- is an agreement made with God

The Mr. and I made our first covenant when we got married.  We exchanged vows as a covenant to each other through the help of God.  Our commitment to each other is more than just a contract. 

It is binding.
It is final.
It is deeply spiritual. 

On October 19, 2014, we made our second covenant with God.  We committed to be intentional with how we raise our son.  As we raise Dutch we want to demonstrate what it means to walk in faith, to be in the word, to have a prayerful life, to serve others, and to be in continual conversation with God.  We are dedicated to raising our son to know Him and to look to Him for strength, patience, wisdom, provision, love, and salvation.  Of course we are going to fail at this many times because we are not perfect parents but we are going to try our best to be intentional in our parenting and to rely on God to show us how to be intentional and how to have grace for ourselves when we mess up. 

Various denominations deal with these types of days in different ways (this is not a statement as to who is right and who is wrong).  I was sprinkled as a baby, made my personal public profession of faith in 6th grade, and baptized through immersion later in life….so I’ve been baptized on three different occasions.  If it were possible to be super baptized that would be me.  But just to explain where we are coming from, we are a bible-based faith and believe that one is baptized once they have accepted Christ as their savior.  So Dutch’s dedication Sunday was not his baptism.  Hopefully one day when he is cognitively aware, he will accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and upon that profession of faith in obedience he will be baptized.  This day was instead a commitment ceremony for the parents to make a covenant with God publically to raise our son in the faith.  It was an opportunity to pray for strength for my husband as the spiritual leader of our home, for me to be the nurturer of the home, and for us to be teachers of love.

Our pastor praying over the families of babies born in the last 4 months.DSC_0232

Our pastor officially introducing Dutch to the church and reading our special verse for him (Psalm 91:4).DSC_0308
Daddies kneeling to pray for their wives and children, and mama’s praying for daddies.DSC_0334

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I'm Lovin' Wednesday: My Homescreen

I knew we were way past due for a cold front in Texas and all the media hype about the impending drop in temperature had me as giddy as a fat kid eating cake. (Ha! Who am I kidding, I AM the fat kid eating cake lol).
As soon as I got a chance this morning I checked the temperature on my homescreen and I swear I heard angels singing the Hallelujah chorus!!
Do you see that?!?!?!
45 DEGREES IN HOUSTON?!
I am wearing a sweater AND a scarf today!!!!  
Wahooo!!!!!  
I love this weather!
Stay snuggly today Friends!
 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Two-Minute Crockpot Tortellini

When I say 2 minutes….I think that might be an exaggeration.  There is NO WAY this recipe takes that long!  I promise this is the all-time easiest recipe.  It’s perfect for busy moms, cramming students, workaholics, new wives learning to cook, those craving warm soups in the fall…..This is a win for everyone!  Seriously all you do is pour your ingredients into a crockpot, go away for a few hours and come back to yummy dinner.  Ahhhh shouldn’t everything in life be that easy?!?!From the Kitchen of Darby HawleyTwo Minute Crockpot Trotellini
Ingredients
16 oz. frozen tortellini
1 large bag of spinach (16 oz-ish)
2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups of water & 4 sodium free chicken bouillon cubes)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)
8 oz cream cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Read carefully, these are very intense and complicated instructions:
1. Open everything
2. Dump everything into your crockpot
3. Cook on medium for a minimum of 3 hours.
4. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Stay This Simple

Dutch,
My sweet boy, right now you are sitting in my lap, and it is one of the sweetest and most adored activities we have shared since you came into my world.
You are growing up way faster than I am comfortable with.
Your age causes me to be in a continual state of denial.
I’m trying my best to embrace every coo, grab for mama, smile, and snuggle we share because I know they wont last forever. 
I’m trying to store up all of your sweetness in my heart because my love for you is insatiable.  I can’t have enough of you.
You see my love, I want you to grow up.  I want your life to be filled with more laughter than you can count.  I want you to go experience things I will never have the opportunity to have.  I want you to flourish, learn and love.
But, in order to doso, you have to grow up.
Of course I will love all of the stages to come, but I will miss the you I have right now.
So I pray baby boy that you always remain my baby boy in your heart.  That you always trust me to love you unconditionally, to feel safe in my arms, to blow me kisses, to send me the biggest grins imaginable, to always dance around the house, to always look forward to the next day, to always sing songs really loudly, to giggle at life, and to always have a love for others.
I pray that your life will be filled with the simplicity of love….the simple love that only a child understands.
Please try to never grow up and stay this simple
My heart explodes with love for you,
Mama

Thank you M.A. for sending me this & helping me put into words what I’m feeling these days.  You are ah-maz-ing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: E.L.F. Mist

I can quote every line from the movie Elf, but that is not what I’m talking about today (I shall save a discussion on my obsession with Elf for another post, but don’t you worry that obsession is borderline clinical problem j/k Ha! Sorry, not sorry!).
 
My girl Meg, who if you don’t know I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your life, has mentioned the E.L.F. Makeup Mist many times and I keep thinking, “Gosh I need to try that”  Seriously, every time she posts about a product and I try it I am so impressed.  So I really wanted to try this, but every time I went to Target, they were sold out.  However, last weekend when I was being a Target glutton I saw the makeup mist and threw that stuff in my cart so fast you would have thought that it was a million dollar prize or that I was practicing my Lebron James layup.
I have now been using the mist for a week now, and it.is.ah-maz-ing!
 
The $3 E.L.F. Makeup Mist is kind of like hairspray for your face.  You apply all of your makeup and then lightly mist your face (2-3 pumps).  The mist helps to keep your makeup in place all day long so that you’re don’t have to reapply for touch-ups.  Since I started using this mist my makeup is as fresh in the evening as it was when I applied it in the morning, eveeeeeeeeeeen if it was a 14 hour day or it was 90 degree weather.  I’m a believer in this stuff!Elf Makeup Mist
Have you tried this mist? What do you think about it?
Happy Hump Day Y’all!
Obligatory Blogger Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post; I just really like this product.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A New Halloween from the Former Halloween Grinch

I can’t apologize for blowing up everyone’s Instagram feed this weekend.  I just can’t; we had too much fun!  Unfollow me if you’re tired of the pictures; I promise I wont be offended.  I have decided though, in order for me to get anything posted, I have to forego my perfectionistic tendencies: no more editing of photos and posts with lots of verbiage- instead upload the photos and go with it.  I’m still learning how to accept my new normal; have patience with me please.

I think it is true what they say, that when you celebrate the holidays with a child you get a new set of eyes.  I am not a fan of Halloween.  In fact, The Mr. calls me the Halloween Grinch.  Maybe it’s because my eyes are set ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas or maybe it’s because I just don’t like scary stuff.  Whatever the reason, this year I got to celebrate Halloween for what felt like the first time, and with Dutch my excitement was indescribable.  I can only imagine what I’m going to be like this year for Christmas.  The ideas I have going through my head already keep me giddy!
Last week, Dutch had something festive to wear everyday and every night.
DSC_0144DSC_0154DSC_0173On Halloween, there was a fall carnival at Dutch’s school and he went as a skeleton.  He loved looking through all of the treats he got in his goodie bag (rattles, balls, a book, a duck, and a whale).DSC_0178DSC_0185Mama & daddy had fun playing with him and his glow in-the-dark costume in the garage.
We're clearly all still children at heart; we like it that way :-)
DSC_0188For trick-or-treating, Dutch went as a Ninja Turtle. 
His costume was complete with a cape and everything!
I dug through a trunk of our old Halloween costumes for some cat accessories.  I can assure you the last time I wore these cat ears I definitely wasn’t looking so mom-ish.DSC_0196DSC_0203We had so much fun at our dear neighbor’s house for a block party.  There were literally thousands of children that came by! I am NOT exaggerating! Pounds & pounds of candy were given away until it all ran out.  Thanks T&J for hosting!DSC_0217DSC_0222On Saturday, we still dressed up in costume. 
What else do you do when you have more costumes and Halloween is over?!?
We kept the festivities going all weekend of course :-)DSC_0239DSC_0242
We had a great festive weekend, but now it’s time to gear up for the next holiday.
How was your Halloween?
What are you planning to do for Thanksgiving with your family?
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